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Would you critique this writing?

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#1 mereminerals

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 06:36 PM

I posted this on the K-8 forum, but would really appreciate advice from those who have been there. Thanks!


My dd9 was assigned to research what it would have been like on the Mayflower voyage. She then had to write as if she was a child on the Mayflower. This is the first time she has written without prompts from me. How would you grade this?

I am a 12 year old girl on the Mayflower ship. My name is Desire. I am traveling with my mom and dad. I get bored really easy because there is hardly any games to play. There are about 30 kids on the ship. There are about a 100 passengers on the ship. There are lots of storms. One part of the beam cracked. It was really bad. I am so excited to go to America. We are almost there. I spend some of my time writing letters to my friends. Sometimes I help cook dinner with my mom and dad. I will write you more when we get off the ship.

I really don't have any idea what is typical writing for a 9yo. She is using WriteShop Jr Book D and this year has been her first introduction to writing.

Thanks for any suggestions or critiques.

#2 Cadam

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 07:34 PM

This is very good for a fourth grader. This kind of writing actually requires the child to imagine something they may have never experienced and I would consider it very difficult. At this age we are still doing summaries around here, I don't require creative writing (which this kind of thing falls into).

I would give her an A btw if you are keeping grades.

#3 Stacy in NJ

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 09:09 PM

I think it's wonderful. It I had to offer a suggestion, I'd say that perhaps she could combine a few sentences so that it flows better.

Example:

There are about 30 kids on the ship and about 100 passangers.
There are lots of storms and one part of the beam cracked.
I am so excited to go to American, and we are almost there.

#4 love2read

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 09:54 PM

This is very good for a 9 year old. If she's excited about it, I would just leave it alone. For the next lesson help her to combine a few short sentences in her rough draft.

#5 mereminerals

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 10:12 PM

Thank you so much for the replies. I wasn't really sure how to "grade" her writing. She is a very reluctant writer and I was afraid I was asking too much of her. I didn't want to be critical in any way out of fear it would make her even more reluctant to write stories. I am definitely keeping these suggestions for the future for her.

#6 Cadam

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 10:27 PM

Thank you so much for the replies. I wasn't really sure how to "grade" her writing. She is a very reluctant writer and I was afraid I was asking too much of her. I didn't want to be critical in any way out of fear it would make her even more reluctant to write stories. I am definitely keeping these suggestions for the future for her.


I am not against creative writing, but if she hates it, why not stick with narration and copywork for a while yet. There is no academic reason to do creative writing like this, especially with a 9 yo.

Just to give you hope, my son really disliked writing at this age so I ended up doing what Susan says and I dropped the creative stuff completely. He now writes scripts on his own, voluntarily, and he is currently doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

#7 mereminerals

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 10:37 PM

I am not against creative writing, but if she hates it, why not stick with narration and copywork for a while yet. There is no academic reason to do creative writing like this, especially with a 9 yo.

Just to give you hope, my son really disliked writing at this age so I ended up doing what Susan says and I dropped the creative stuff completely. He now writes scripts on his own, voluntarily, and he is currently doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).


To be completely honest, we are just now heading towards a more classical education. And I have no idea where to start with narration with her. I need to listen to Susan's lectures on this and go from there. Thank you for that suggestion, sometimes it is the obvious ones that go unnoticed for me.

#8 Night Elf

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 09:22 AM

I think it sounds great. Obviously there are some things that can be improved upon, but you don't want to go after them all at one time or all in that one assignment. I'm not familiar with the Jr. books, but my children are using WriteShop books I and II. There is always a checklist after each assignment for the child to follow to see if she did everything. I'd consider that to be the most important resource for grading.

My advice is to always praise the work before bringing up a correction. Once you tell her that it's really a great piece of work and that she has improved in her writing so much, ask if she minds you making one suggestion. Hopefully she'll say yes and choose just one thing to work on. For example, if you want to help her combine choppy sentences, pick two out and model how they can have a compound subject or verb and make one sentence. Then let her try one. Writeshop is about writing in incrememts so it doesn't all need to be corrected at one time.

Obviously I'm not following a classical education. My children need to learn to write with that creative element because there are many assignments in their high school classes that require that skill.